This M.Y. answer provides a list of permissible learning items on Tish'a B'Av. All these items are somehow related to the themes of mourning, the Temple destruction, etc.

Avot D'Rav Natan has several Mishnayot that seem to relate to the theme of Tish'a B'Av related to the setruction of Jerusalem. Examples:

Avot D'Rav Natan 4:4 and 4:5 Rav Yohanan ben Zakkai's request from Vespasian for Yavneh

Avot D'Rav Natan 6:3 Near the end of Mishnah; story of Kalba Savu'a who had enough food to feed everyone in Jerusalem for 22 years. Yet, the Zealots destroyed his storehouses

Would it be appropriate to learn these? Why weren't these included in the list?

  • 2
    It's possible that since these are already recounted in other locations in the Talmud, they just suggest you learn the relevant Talmud rather than skipping around in the more obscure AdR"N Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 15:37
  • @IsaacKotlicky I had thought of that angle, but I'm uncertain if everything mentioned in AD"N is also mentioned elsewhere. Personally, if I have everything in one sefer, it's easier to learn that way than procuring multiple sefarim to locate each of these stories, individually, no?
    – DanF
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 15:50
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    On the contrary, the ones you mentioned are cherrypicked from across several places. In the Gemaras we learn on Tb"A they are enclosed within larger relevant sugyos that are ALSO learned/learnable on Tb"A. Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 15:51
  • 3
    If the content is appropriate you can learn it it. It doesn't matter what the name of the book is or what else is near it. All the lists you've ever seen are approximations.
    – Double AA
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 16:06
  • 1
    (I think you mean the end of Avot D'Rabbi Natan 6:3. Also, technically they are braitot not mishnayot.)
    – Loewian
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 17:41

1 Answer 1


Tanna v'sheeyer - Anything fitting the mood of the day is acceptable (at least without iyun [in-depth analysis]; see also sources cited by @WFB in comments below which are lenient even with regard to iyun). It would be impossible to have a comprehensive list since Torah SheBaal Peh (the oral Torah) is constantly expanding. (My assumption is that these specific passages were also not included in the list because they are relatively short.) See also, e.g., the Aruch HaShulchan (554:5) who permits reading the sad passages in Neviim left unmentioned by the Brayta:

ויראה לי דכן דברים הרעים שבשארי נביאים – מותר לקרות. ומה שהש"ס חשיב רק ירמיה – משום דבירמיה יש הרבה דברים רעים.

It seems to me that, so too, one is allowed to read the sad passages [lit: bad things] in the other Prophets and the reason the Talmud only mentioned Jeremiah is because there are many sad passages in Jeremiah.

(This inclusive understanding, by the way, is the basis why later codes and commentaries [e.g. Levush cited by Mishna Berura] added to the original Talmudic list.)

  • The Aruch HaShulchan permits iyun as well sefaria.org/… This is also the view of R. Chaim Soloveitchik and the Chazon Ish
    – wfb
    Commented Aug 1, 2017 at 21:07
  • See also here (4-5): he.wikisource.org/wiki/…
    – wfb
    Commented Aug 1, 2017 at 21:12
  • This is a good answer and I agree with the principle, but do you have a source that specifically says we can expand the list based on svara (i..e., for your last sentence)? Relatedly, I have heard from a few rebbeim that one can learn Shut MiMaamakim on Tisha b'Av, which fits with this idea.
    – Avraham
    Commented Apr 16, 2023 at 21:13
  • @Avraham not offhand
    – Loewian
    Commented Apr 17, 2023 at 22:12

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